After the whole Pope Francis-Donald Trump dust-up I thought it was time to revisit this piece I wrote for Fox News during the Pope’s visit to the United States in September 2015. The folks at Fox News titled it “Pope Francis is neither liberal nor conservative, a Democrat or a Republican. He is a Catholic.”
Here is a taste:
Our propensity for trying to place the Pope in a political box says more about our culture than it does about the social views of the Catholic Church. Francis’s visit has called attention to the tired, unimaginative, and intellectually stale way that we Americans think about public life. Americans are captive to ideological categories like “Left: and “Right.” They are captive to political parties that allow little original thought that does not conform to rigid and limited platforms.
And we have being thinking in these binary terms for a long time. Anyone who has seen the hit Broadway musical Hamilton will realize that this political habit has been around since the 1790s when Hamilton and Jefferson planted the roots of what would become our modern party system.
It should thus not surprise us that so many Americans cannot make sense of Francis and his message. Marxists were criticized for thinking about the world in solely economic terms. Americans should be criticized for thinking about the world solely in political terms. When people agree with what the Pope is saying they describe him as a “spiritual leader,” but when they disagree with his views they say he is “getting too political.”
Thursday in the House chamber Francis pushed Americans to move beyond these unbending categories. He said that life is complex. He urged us to avoid demonizing those with whom we disagree. Common ground is possible, but it will require a different way of thinking about the moral issues that often define our politics.
Read the entire post here.